Observing Black History Month

By: Drew Bearfield

Do you know what Black History Month is, and who is part of Black History? Black History Month is when Americans and Canadians remember the history of African Americans. According to http://www.history.com/, since 1976 every U.S. President has chosen February as Black History Month. Other countries have a month to celebrate black history as well, although some chose different months than the United States. The story of Black History Month in the United States started in 1915, 10 years after the thirteenth amendment ended slavery. The reason why the month is February is because Abraham Lincoln’s and Frederick Douglass’ birthdays fall in February. The event sparked schools and communities around the world to plan local celebrations. The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington, highlights the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two critical events in African American history.

     The Squire interviewed some Eisenhower Teachers to find out more about Black History Month.

The Squire: Who are the most important people in Black History students should study and why are they important?

Mrs. Marie Vanderhoof: There are a lot of important people in Black History, such as Rosa Park and Martin Luther King. These people did great things for race relations. However, I feel a lot of the black sports figures made the integration of the races most real for the blue collar guy. Sports figures such as Joe Louis, Jesse Owen, Charlie Sifford, and Jackie Robinson brought integration to the everyday guy in a forum that they were comfortable in.

Mr. Jim Penley: There are a lot, but a couple in my opinion:

Fredrick Douglas: For not only his accomplishments to push for abolition, but the simple story that a former slave could become so respected and educated (which was not expected during those days) and push a movement.

Rosa Parks: The simple fact that she, as a women, was brave to stand up to what was wrong, and then be a major voice of the movement for years is important.

Martin Luther King: Self-explanatory.

Malcolm X: He was the voice of frustration, which needed to be respected at a time when only non-violent protest was important. But to ignore that those who were frustrated and who should also be able to voice this frustration would have been wrong.

TS: Why would students learn about Black History Month?

MV: The thought process behind Black History Month as I understand it is that most history taught and learnt from a white person’s perspective; therefore, students should have a time dedicated to learning about Black History. I am not sure I agree with this premise; I would prefer that history be true and inclusive not separating history by race or sex.

JP: Sadly, we have to have this month because people do not truly understand and respect our history of race issues in America. You can’t just simplify it; it was complicated and ugly. This event lets us celebrate the outstanding accomplishment of those people who in the past may not have been recognized simply because of the color of their skin.

Well, there you have it; we should keep these people in remembrance for what they have done. Throughout this article, we have mentioned a few important individuals, but there are many more to be remembered. From Jackie Robison, a sports figure, to Martin Luther King Jr., an American Baptist minister and leader of the Civil Rights Movement, there are so many people to recognize for Black History Month. Throughout the year, it’s important to remember not just these figures, but all African Americans and leaders who have played an important role in American history.

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